NBC’s Katy Tur Decries Trump Team ‘Trying to Blame the Media’

Appearing on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on Monday, NBC correspondent Katy Tur denounced Donald Trump’s campaign team for demanding fair treatment from the press ahead of the upcoming debate: “So what they’re trying to do is find a way to best game this system. And what you’re seeing on TV, all over the airwaves, is his campaign manager and his surrogates trying to blame the media before the media has even covered the debate.”

She continued: “They’re going to say that everybody in the press is going to be unfair, that Donald Trump is going up against a rigged system and this is why his message, his real message, his message of the economy, his message of job creation, isn't getting through.” Tur added: “The reality is, he's given very little detail on any of those matters and most of the time when he gets on the debate stage the majority of what he says is insulting his candidate next to him.”

The reporter’s outrage at the Trump campaign supposedly trying to “game this system” came just hours after Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook appeared on the Today show and demanded that all of Trump’s “lies and distortions” “get checked” by moderator Lester Holt during the debate.

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Minutes after talking to Tur in MSNBC’s 12 p.m. ET hour, host Andrea Mitchell turned to former Obama administration advisor and Clinton surrogate David Plouffe to tout further evidence of the Clinton camp working the refs:

On the commander-in-chief test, the concern that the Clinton team is expressing is that he will come out, he will be coherent, look dominant, presidential, masculine, whatever those qualities are, and he'll look like a president and he won't really be tested by the viewing audience or even by the media on whether he really can understand or explain what he would do about China, Russia, Syria, Lybia.  

Plouffe made his own demands of Holt: “Well, I think, first of all, Hillary Clinton’s going to have to engage where she thinks that's appropriate. You can't rely on the moderator. I think the moderator shouldn't just read questions, they should facilitate the discussion.”

Here are excerpts of the September 26 coverage:

12:02 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, first, Katy Tur, to you. There’s a lot of spin from all sides. Who knows what the reality is inside Trump Tower or inside that Doral resort up there in Westchester County. But from all of your reporting – and there’s no one better at it – what is Donald Trump doing to prepare?

KATY TUR: Donald Trump is not doing traditional preparation like you’d see with Hillary Clinton or President Obama, when he was running, or any other candidate, frankly. He doesn't do any mock debates. What he has is his top campaign advisers, that’s Chris Christie, that’s General Mike Flynn, it’s Steve Bannon, his campaign CEO. They’re spit-balling with him, they’re  throwing questions at him in a circle, and they’re trying to see how nimble he is on his toes in terms of being able to respond. They admit that it’s hard to keep their candidate focused. It's always been hard to keep him focused on issue-based anything, policy, frankly. And so that's not necessarily his strong point, especially coming up against Hillary Clinton.

So what they’re trying to do is find a way to best game this system. And what you’re seeing on TV, all over the airwaves, is his campaign manager and his surrogates trying to blame the media before the media has even covered the debate. They’re going to say that everybody in the press is going to be unfair, that Donald Trump is going up against a rigged system and this is why his message, his real message, his message of the economy, his message of job creation, isn't getting through. The reality is, he's given very little detail on any of those matters and most of the time when he gets on the debate stage the majority of what he says is insulting his candidate next to him.

So we're going to find out which Donald Trump we see on this debate. Is it the one that the campaign has been trying to put out there, a more presidential Donald Trump? Somebody who’s going to be restrained, who won't fire back at Hillary Clinton, who won't take the first shot, at least, at Hillary Clinton. Or is he going to be the candidate that we see on Twitter, tweeting about Gennifer Flowers, insulting reporters, people that he doesn't agree with, and potentially going after Hillary Clinton. They believe that candidate is not a candidate that’s going to be a winning candidate for them tonight. They want to keep him as presidential as they possibly can.

MITCHELL: So, Kristen Welker, for 90 minutes, no break. She's practicing again today. She doesn't want to leave anything on the table. And our colleague Kelly O'Donnell is reporting that now they’re beginning to pivot – this is maybe part of the mind games – and they’re planning for the presidential Donald Trump, not the bomb thrower.

KRISTEN WELKER: And that's consistent with everything that I’m hearing from my sources as well. They are expecting Donald Trump to be more restrained. So one of her challenges, one of her goals tonight, is to try to knock him off of that. To try to get under his skin. She's been arguing that he's temperamentally unfit to be president. Well, she's gonna try to show that tonight.

But look, she is preparing in the exact opposite way that Katy just laid out. She's preparing as you would expect her to, like a lawyer. She's meticulously going through her policy positions, his policy positions, and I am told her strategy is going to be to try to speak aspirationally about what she wants to accomplish and to only go after him if he either goes after her or if he misrepresents her record or his own record. She's going to be ready to pounce. So I am expecting fireworks. And of course, the Trump stand-in has been Philippe Reines, you know him very well, the former top State Department aide, who is tough. He was tough with the media. And we have been told that he's been very tough with Secretary Clinton, getting her ready for tonight's debate.

(...)

12:12 PM ET

MITCHELL: On the commander-in-chief test, the concern that the Clinton team is expressing is that he will come out, he will be coherent, look dominant, presidential, masculine, whatever those qualities are, and he'll look like a president and he won't really be tested by the viewing audience or even by the media on whether he really can understand or explain what he would do about China, Russia, Syria, Lybia.  

DAVID PLOUFFE: Well, I think, first of all, Hillary Clinton’s going to have to engage where she thinks that's appropriate. You can't rely on the moderator. I think the moderator shouldn't just read questions, they should facilitate the discussion.

(...)


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